Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm Ready To Talk About Guns

I couldn't talk about it at first, for my own sensitivity and that of others, for the sacred silence of the grief, for the things that can never be said again for so many mothers...but I am ready to talk about it now.

I should start by saying that I do not believe that American public policy will ever in my lifetime or several generations after mirror anything like my personal feelings about guns.  I am a Quaker - a pacifist.  I am a vegetarian, a non-hunter.  I personally think the whole world would be a lot better off with no guns, period.  That's me, though.  I know that is not what America wants.  We are a democracy and, so long as basic human rights are respected, we go with the majority.  I do not expect the majority of America to agree with my feelings about violence and killing - not at all.

I think the majority of America is ready for some very big changes, though.  I think that the majority of America and I can agree that a ban on automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and most definitely a ban on high capacity magazines is the right thing to do.  No one needs those things - not for hunting and not to protect their families.  No one uses those things for anything but recreation and mass murder and, frankly, their recreational value is not worth the cost.  

I am tired of hearing that such bans are useless because criminals will still obtain things illegally.  Mass murders are not generally committed by your average criminally-minded person.  They are committed by people whose humanity has snapped in some way and become twisted up.  No one knows when a person might find themselves outside the limits of their own sanity.  It needs to be harder for those who are so badly broken to gain access to tools of mass murder.  It needs to be hard for anyone to gain access because no one can truly predict who will snap.  People are simply not strong enough to be trusted with such destructive things - our species has proved this again and again and again, especially here, in America, where such weapons are so easy to get.

Second amendment - blah, blah, blah.  No one argues that the second amendment means that people should be able to have their own personal nuclear arsenals.  Everyone acknowledges that some things are too dangerous for individuals to own.  The second amendment does not tell us which things those are - we, as a society, must decide together.  

I think we should decide that automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and, especially, high capacity magazines, are things that are too destructive for individuals to own, things that must be banned for the sake of our children.  Our children must always be more important than intellectual abstractions - always.  I hope Congress agrees.  If they don't, we need a new one, because America agrees.  Now.